Chowly isn’t planning on slowing down any time soon.
The company, which integrates third-party delivery services into a restaurant’s point-of-sale system, has been in attack mode for a few years, capturing more and more of the market share as it has hired a growing number of sales reps. Now that those reps have been met with a number of successes, the company has further streamlined its processes by creating marketing and customer success departments.
We caught up with a few team members to talk about how Chowly’s transparent and upbeat culture, plus its penchant for cross-departmental collaboration, are helping these new departments hit the ground running alongside the rest of the team.
WHAT THEY DO: Chowly integrates third-party delivery into a restaurant’s POS system, eliminating the need for numerous delivery tablets in restaurants and helping to increase revenue and efficiency while decreasing labor costs.
WHERE THEY DO IT: Chicago
PERKS TO MENTION: Wellness benefit reimbursements and off-site outings such as baseball games and happy hours.
Stacey Arenson, Director of Marketing
Stacey was Chowly’s first marketing hire. She leads all marketing initiatives, including social media management and advertising, branding and content strategy, partner relationships and co-marketing opportunities, and marketing and advertising data analysis.
BEYOND WORK: Stacey has a strong interest in healthy living and loves learning about new health trends and why the body works the way it does. Along with Peloton cycling, she’s running her first marathon in October.
You went from marketing manager to director of marketing in a short period of time. What was that internal growth like for you?
Before coming here, I was in a marketing director position at a hospitality company, but the available position at Chowly was for a marketing manager. They needed the first marketing hire to jump-start initiatives, and I felt that I was the perfect person for the job. I’d never been in a position where I could start everything from scratch and learn about a new industry from the ground up, so I ultimately decided to take a leap and accept the role, then work hard knowing the director position could potentially become available. Luckily, they liked what they saw and here I am. We recently hired a marketing coordinator and have plans to continue growing the team, which is really exciting.
Since you were the entire marketing department for a while, collaborating must have been key. How do you go about collaborating with other teams?
I collaborate with the sales and customer success teams constantly. I love hearing their feedback and working with them to adjust my strategy. At the end of the day, we all have to work together to succeed, so I can market all I want. But, if it’s not being received in the right way by our customers and team members at Chowly, then we won’t get anywhere. Ultimately, my goal is to inspire customers to use our service, and without all of our teams working together, that won’t happen.
I really enjoy getting to work on an idea from its inception and see it come to life and make an impact on the whole company.”
What about your company or work inspires you?
I love that marketing consists of so many things. There’s creative design, content and messaging, brand voice, advertising, direct mail, social media, events, conferences, and data and analytics. There are so many areas, and I enjoy having a hand in all of them and pushing the boundaries to come up with new items.
I also like the startup atmosphere in general, but especially at Chowly because I’m able to try new things and learn from the outcomes and evolve. I feel supported in that way. I also really enjoy getting to work on an idea from its inception and see it come to life and make an impact on the whole company.
TJ Hankin, Director of Sales, SMB
TJ oversees the inside sales team. His role includes motivating and energizing the account executives, holding them accountable, creating sales quotas and goals, building relationships and acquiring referral partners, and preparing and presenting sales reports to the executive team.
BEYOND WORK: Home improvement projects have become a staple in TJ’s life. He’s currently renovating the first floor of his brother’s home, which has helped him build his leadership skills, as well as patience and attention to detail.
How has Chowly supported your career growth?
Chowly has been truly life changing. Throughout all of my roles here, I’m constantly being pushed and forced out of my comfort zone and required to learn in a hurry. But through all of this, I’m still supported by my superiors. When I first started out, I essentially had no restaurant experience, so I had to quickly learn some high-level point-of-sale workings and restaurant back-of-house processes. Having to adapt quickly to find solutions is what makes Chowly exciting and fills my need to be challenged.
If an employee came to you and said that they will not be able to hit one of their goals, how would you help set them up for future success?
It would start by ensuring that they understand that "we" are not going to be able to hit one of "our" goals. Success is a combination of the efforts from the sales rep, their team lead and myself. So, to begin, I would make sure we are providing them with the necessary tools. Are their daily check-ins with team leads occurring? Could there be a better way to organize leads to make them more efficient? We would also take a look at Chowly’s five key KPIs to see where they may have fallen short. It’s key for me to have empathy while reiterating the importance of each individual contributor both on a small scale and the company-wide scale. All of us have to agree to attainable goals with a plan that’s right for each person.
Having to adapt quickly to find solutions is what makes Chowly exciting and fills my need to be challenged.”
Have you or your fellow salespeople built any traditions, activities or rituals to foster culture?
When someone gets a deal signed, we have a gong for them to hit. They can also cap off their deal signing with a choice from an assortment of adult beverages that we provide. We hold quarterly meetings where we have awards — with trophies — for top performers. We also go out for dinner or host happy hours to celebrate team successes.
Brett Asselstine, Director of Customer Success
Brett manages the implementation of the newly created customer success department, which is responsible for revenue growth and retention with respect to current SMB accounts.
BEYOND WORK: Brett is on the associate board of a couple of local charities that focus on disadvantaged youth in Chicago. “Nurturing young people gives me the right mindset to balance out the natural hustler traits that I bring to my job,” he says.
How has your background influenced your success at Chowly?
I developed a deep passion for the startup world while in college. My first job was at Yelp in advertising sales, so I was able to develop a strong inside sales skill set. I wanted to learn how to scale a company and I saw the opportunity at Chowly as a way to accomplish that. When I joined in late 2017, our first mission was to attain 1,000 clients to win series A funding, which we accomplished within a few months.
Since then it has been fast-paced growth — I’ve been hiring and training more reps and growing our client base rapidly. Our sales leader, Tom Lawton, was excellent in helping me focus on developing a process to bring order to the chaos of growth. Through his guidance, I was able to step into the role of sales manager and develop a new sales team from the ground up.
What have you done to foster culture?
I hired a lot of people that I knew in sales to be tenacious, seasoned and hungry for a winning culture. Chowly has an innovative product and that was exciting to them. That fresh energy made an immediate impact, and many of those employees are now sales leaders here and developing more folks as they come on board. We hit the gong when we close deals, play our favorite music and crack jokes to keep each other on our toes. We also love exploring Chicago’s vibrant food scene —we are in the food business and proud of where we come from. Shoutout to Lettuce Entertain You, an early client of ours.
We hire people who come to grow, get the job done and have fun.”
How are you bringing your company’s values to the employee experience?
As a market leader that came about through disruption, we look to stay on top by being the premier, scalable service. The foundation of that is always going to be our people and our culture. We hire people who come to grow, get the job done and have fun. We bring that spirit every day because, even on those rough days where you aren't feeling up to par, your team will get you back into it.